By Joy Walter
Although giving birth usually refers to the event of actually delivering a baby, so much more is involved in the process. It often begins as a desire in the heart of a couple to have a child; a person created from their genetic identity. This process then requires two people coming together to conceive a miracle. This step may happen quickly or it may require years of patiently waiting. While we know birth is not immediate, it IS imminent. Nine months of waiting and preparing then ensue. Throughout this time, many changes take place to the mother’s body, the couple’s home, the parents’ hearts. Although an estimated date of delivery is anticipated, only God knows when that baby will make its grand entrance. Although the mother is relieved when the signs of delivery finally begin, the process that is ahead is not an easy one. Giving birth is painful, and giving birth is messy. Somehow amid the pain and the mess, beauty unfolds. There are not many as intimate moments as when that first cry is heard and that tiny new life is placed on its mommy’s chest.
Establishing a house of prayer at 404 Church Street can be compared to the process of giving birth. The desire for intimacy with His children is at the core of God’s heart. Malachi 2:15 says, “What was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” So just as a husband and wife desire to birth offspring, God also desires to birth children in His likeness. Intimacy cultivated with the Lover of our souls takes beautiful shape as a place is established in which seeking His heart never stops. So, the dream for such a place has always been in God’s heart. Conception occurred when He placed this dream in the heart of Gayle Billy. She and her husband, Fred, lived on the property of what is now Redeeming Hope ten years ago. During that time, the Lord promised her that the building would one day house 24/7 prayer. Although Fred and Gayle were mostly alone during this time, through prayer and tears they sought to see His dream birthed. Just as a pregnant mother anticipates the birth of her child, waiting for the fulfillment of a promise can be both joyful and tiring. Birth is imminent, though, and hope cannot be quenched.
During the gestation period, the Lord was preparing a family of believers to birth what He had conceived in Gayle so many years before. Through miraculous provision and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of Awakening Fires purchased the property in 2013. During which time, He began calling others to the ministry with a heart for intercession and prayer. The birthing process has been messy and painful. After functioning for almost a year in 24/7 prayer, we cancelled our schedule in the fall of 2016. God was showing us some painful realities and has used the past year to refashion our hearts. He is turning our hearts toward Him and awakening intercessors throughout our city. We don’t want to just fill a schedule with names or a room with warm bodies. We want His heart to make our hearts come alive. We must believe that intercession is the only key to breakthrough in our city. We’ve spent this year learning the true importance of prayer and this week hosting a prayer summit in preparation for a new prayer schedule. As we prepare to relaunch the prayer room on September 11, we are past the difficult transition phase of labor and have begun pushing. The head is crowning. I can almost hear the sound of a newborn baby’s cry.